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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Rosh Hashanah 25


(a) It once happened that two witnesses testified that they had seen the new moon in the morning in the east and on the following evening in the west. Rebbi Yochanan ben Nuri declared their testimony null and void. What did Raban Gamliel say when they arrived in Yavneh?

(b) Why could it not have been the *old* moon that they had seen in the morning in the east (in which case the problem would have been that, as we have already learned, twenty-four hours must elapse between the disappearance of the old moon and the appearance of the new one)?

(c) What was the other occasion on which Raban Gamliel accepted the witnesses, and Rebbi Dosa ben Horkinas declared them to be liars?

(d) What was the basis of Rebbi Dosa's accusation?

(a) What did Rebbi Yehoshua (who was the Av Beis-Din) say, that caused Raban Gamliel to react harshly?

(b) What did Raban Gamliel order him to do?

(c) Rebbi Akiva consoled Rebbi Yehoshua with the Pasuk in Emor "Eileh Mo'adei Hashem Asher Tikre'u Osom be'Moadam".
What consolation lies in those words?

(d) How did Rebbi Dosa ben Horkinas (with whom Rebbi Yehoshua was agreeing) console him, using the Pasuk in Mishpatim "va'Ya'al Moshe ve'Aharon, Nadav va'Avihu *ve'Shiv'im mi'Ziknei Yisrael*"?

(a) What did Raban Gamliel's do, when Rebbi Yehoshua arrived at Raban Gamliel's house on the eleventh of Tishri (Yom Kipur in Rebbi Yehoshua's calculations opinion)?

(b) What did he say to him?

(a) How did Raban Gamliel explain his first ruling (concerning the witnesses who claimed that they saw the new moon in the east in the morning ...)?

(b) The source for this lies in the Pasuk in Tehilim "Asah Yarei'ach le'Moadim, Shemesh Mevo'o".
How did Rebbi Yochanan explain this Pasuk?

(c) Rebbi Chiya threw a clod of earth at the moon when he saw it on the morning of the thirtieth of Elul.
Why did he do that?

(d) Rebbi sent Rebbi Chiya to Ein Itam to declare Rosh Chodesh there, because (assuming this to be a continuation of the previous episode, the people, who had seen the moon throughout the twenty-ninth, would begin talking).
Which other reason might have forced him to send Rebbi Chiya out of Yavneh to fix Rosh Chodesh? What saying did Rebbi instruct Rebbi Chiya to send him as a sign that he had accomplished his mission?

(a) The Beis-Din of Raban Gamliel once accepted a viewing (of what they thought was the new moon) on the twenty-ninth of the month.
On what grounds did Raban Gamliel reject this outright?

(b) Why did he subsequently eulogize the mother of Ben Zaza, who died that day, far more extensively than he would otherwise have done?

(c) When Rebbi Yehoshua left Raban Gamliel (after he had been issued with his devastating instructions), the Tana writes 'Halach u'Matz'o Rebbi Akiva Meitzar'.
Who found whom distressed?

(d) We have already seen in our Mishnah how Rebbi Akiva consoled his Rebbe.
How did he Darshan the three "Osom" written in Parshas Emor"?

(a) The Pasuk writes in Shmuel "va'Yishlach Hashem es Yeruba'al, ve'es Be'dan ve'es Yiftach ve'es Sh'muel.
Why does the Navi refer to ...
  1. ... Gid'an as Yeba'al?
  2. ... Shimshon as Be'dan?
(b) From where do we know that Sh'muel was greater than the other three leaders mentioned in this Pasuk?

(c) Chazal therefore link Yeruba'al with Moshe, Shimshon with Aharon and Yiftach with Sh'muel.
What do we learn from this?

(d) And what do we learn from the Pasuk ...

  1. ... "u'Vasa el ha'Kohanim ha'Levi'im ve'El ha'Shofet Asher Yihyeh ba'Yamim ha'Heim" (Shoftim)?
  2. ... "Al Tomar Mah Hayah, she'ha'Yamim ha'Rishonim Hayu Tovim me'Eileh"?
Answers to questions



(a) On what grounds do we reject the wording of Raban Gamliel's 'Kal va'Chomer' (if the seniors obey their juniors, then how much more so will the juniors learn to obey their seniors?

(b) So how do we amend it?

***** Hadran Alach, 'Im Einan Makirin' *****

***** Perek Ra'uhu Beis-Din *****


(a) 'If Beis-Din and all of Yisrael saw the new moon on the thirtieth, but night fell before they managed to declare Rosh Chodesh, Rosh Chodesh will have to be postponed until the thirty-first of the month.
Why does the Tana need to add 'and all of Yisrael'?

(b) Is 'Nechkeru ha'Eidim' part of the same case, or is it an independent one?

(c) What will be the procedure if the only ones to have seen the new moon are ...

  1. ... the twenty-three members of the Sanhedrin Ketanah?
  2. ... the three members of Beis-Din? Why is this necessary?
(d) Having taught us that if the whole of Yisrael saw the new moon, but did not manage to declare Rosh Chodesh before nightfall, why does the Tana need to add that the same applies to a case where the witnesses were examined etc.? Is that not obvious?
9) What do we learn from the Pasuk ...
  1. ... in Ki Seitzei "va'Hayah *be'Yom* Hanchilo es Banav"?
  2. ... in Tehilim (with regard to Kidush ha'Chodesh) "Ki *Chok* le'Yisrael Hu *Mishpat* le'Elokei Ya'akov"?
(a) If three members of Beis-Din saw the new moon, why do they need to testify at all? Why do we not apply the principle 've'Lo Tehei Shemi'ah Gedolah me'Re'iyah'?

(b) Why will the principle of 've'Lo Tehei Shemi'ah Gedolah me'Re'iyah' not apply to other cases of testimony?

(a) Having established the previous case when they saw the moon at night, what do we learn from the Seifa, when the Beis-Din of *three* saw the new moon?

(b) Why might we have thought otherwise?

(c) Why then, do we *not* learn from money-matters?

(a) From where do we know that for Beis-Din to issue the death-sentence, there must be testimony (and we will not apply 've'Lo Tehei Shemi'ah Gedolah me'Re'iyah')?

(b) Can witnesses testify and then sit and judge?

(c) Rebbi Tarfon permits Dayanim who saw a murder to sit as judges.
What does Rebbi Akiva say?

(d) Could Rebbi Akiva be the author of our Mishnah, which permits witnesses who saw the moon to sit as judges (provided they do not first testify)?

Answers to questions
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